Welcome to CAMRA West Kent

This website is for CAMRA members who have an interest in the West Kent Branch.

The branch area includes the towns of Edenbridge, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells and Westerham.

 



 

TONBRIDGE BEER WEEKEND 2020

Over the weekend of Friday 31st January to Sunday 2nd February eight of Tonbridge’s pubs will each be having a “Tap Take Over” from eight different breweries, giving the town’s ale drinkers an unrivaled opportunity to sample a range of wonderful ales.

The eight pubs taking part and their “partner” breweries are shown below:

  • George and Dragon – Tonbridge Brewery
  • Fuggles – Abyss Brewery
  • The Gatehouse – Cellar Head
  • Humphrey Bean – Longman Brewery
  • Verdi Gris – Westerham Brewery
  • The Beer Seller – Gun Brewery
  • the Nelson Arms – Fine Ales & Kent Brewery
  • The Foresters – Shepherd Neame

A great opportunity to try some different beers and support the town’s pubs !!



VOTE FOR YOUR PUB OF THE YEAR

We want to hear your opinion in order to choose our Pub of the Year 2020, Cider Pub of the Year 2020 and Club of the Year 2020.

1. Pub of the Year (POTY)

We invite you to nominate your 1st, 2nd & 3rd choice of pub for West Kent Pub of the Year based on the combined criteria of atmosphere, decor, welcome and service, level of community focus, value for money and most importantly, quality of beer and cider.

Whilst it is likely that the Pub of the Year contenders would appear in the current 2020 Good Beer Guide, you are free to vote for your top three pubs from any in the West Kent area.

2) Cider Pub of the Year (CPOTY)

In addition to POTY, you can also nominate a pub for Cider Pub of the Year. Please ensure that you nominate your Cider Pub of the Year separately. We have received a low number of votes for this in previous years and would dearly love to have a number of nominations that meet the criteria; which is that the pub must serve a real cider or perry.

3) Club of the Year (COTY)

Finally if you visit a club or clubs in the branch serving real ale or real cider you can also nominate your choice for Club of the Year.

So please make your contribution to the process by return email by Friday, 31st January. We will then be in a position to present the well-deserved awards for the winner and runners-up later in the year.

Thank you for your involvement.


Sign the Petition to Save Pubs by Cutting Taxes on Them

It’s very easy to do at: https://www.longlivethelocal.pub/


Pub News – Two Potential Community Pubs in Our Branch

The Royal Oak, Crockham Hill community purchase campaign is progressing well. Locals have agreed a price subject to the results of surveys and are currently negotiating with the vendors for repairs etc. to be carried out prior to completion. They have received help from the Plunkett Foundation and held a packed village meeting on 4th October with over 100 villagers to discuss purchasing the Royal Oak on behalf of the community via a Community Benefit Scheme. Since then they have raised 50% of their goal in support pledges so still have a way to go, but the enthusiasm in the community is encouraging. A new tenants’ agreement has been discussed and agreed in principle with the current tenants and plans have begun for improvements to the building and the way the pub business is run following acquisition. If you want to be involved, pledge money or keep informed email Stuart Wilkie at help@save-royal-oak.co.uk

The Fox & Hounds, Toys Hill is currently closed and is also the subject of a community purchase campaign as reported recently in the Courier newspaper. Not much info on this one yet but we hope to be able to shed more light soon. If you want to support the campaign please email Micaela West at micaelawest@btinternet.com


Westerham Brewery Visit – Sunday 3rd November

On our recent Branch Visit to Westerham 16 hardy souls travelled by 401 bus being picked up at various stops along the way.  But then the walk from the bus stop on the A25 is not the easiest, or safest !!  There is a footpath along the A25 but as soon as you walk down the A233 Beggars Lane there is only an overgrown verge to walk on or the road which can be quite busy.

On arrival we found that we had given tables set among the conditioning tanks.  Unfortunately the brewer, Robert Wicks, was not able to be there but we were well looked after by his staff.  On offer were five of their cask ales along with four more on keg.  In the car park outside there was a “street food” van providing snacks and more substantial meals. After a pleasant couple of hours we made our way back to the bus stop where we caught a 401 to Chipstead for a comfort break at the Bricklayers Arms which is a Harvey’s pub.  As well as their regular beers we were able to partake of the Old and Bonfire Boy which were both in excellent condition.  We then caught the last 401 bus back to Tunbridge Wells.


Remember the Farmer’s in Sevenoaks ?

As you may know the much-loved Farmer’s pub in Sevenoaks, opposite the railway station, closed its doors for the last time in January 2006 and was knocked down by its new owners, a property company, despite fierce opposition.  Since then the site has remained derelict, although two planning permissions were granted to build flats and retail units. The Sevenoaks Society did its best to help save the pub, objecting to both applications; the original one, to demolish it, was turned down by Sevenoaks District Council, but overturned on appeal – as was the second, for a revised scheme.

The Society has sought to persuade the Council to take action, but despite their efforts, the concerns of many in the town, and the discussions between the developers and the Council, no progress has been made.  So they have launched a campaign that some of our members may wish to support by signing a petition urging the Council to purchase the site, and develop a scheme of their own, to include an element of much-needed social housing. We can’t bring the pub back. But the derelict site is an eyesore at a key gateway to the town and more importantly it represents an opportunity to provide residential accommodation in town, helping to meet the government’s assessment of our housing need, rather than build on the Green Belt. 
The petition may be signed on-line (using Sevenoaks District Council’s E-petition page on their web-site): https://sevenoaks.moderngov.co.uk/mgEPetitionDisplay.aspx?id=42 There is also a paper petition that can be obtained from Keith Wade – see below.
Anyone who signs must have a home or work address in Sevenoaks District.  They have over 500 signatures so far but need 1000 plus for the matter to be debated in full Council.

Further Request
Keith Wade, who brought this issue to our attention, is writing a book on the pubs of Sevenoaks. The Farmer’s will feature large, so if anyone has any stories to tell, or any information or images of interest, he would love to hear from them. He’s also trying to pin down the exact date of the pub’s demolition. kwc@keithwadeconsulting.co.uk

 


40 Years “At Anchor” !

A party from West Kent CAMRA recently visited Barry at The Anchor in Sevenoaks to celebrate his 40th “birthday” at the pub. Quite an achievement! Our picture shows branch chairman Trevor presenting Barry with a caricature to commemorate the occasion.


More Accolades for Harvey’s

A double presentation was recently made to Miles Jenner, Head Brewer at multiple award-winning Harvey’s brewery in Lewes, East Sussex.

A coach full of West Kent CAMRA volunteers who served over 14,000 pints of beer at the 8th annual Spa Valley Railway beer and cider festival in October 2018, the largest and most successful to date, were greeted by Miles in the brewery yard who then proceeded to provide an engaging and entertaining tour of the brewery culminating in the tasting of a range of Harvey’s fine cask ales in the racking room.

Emerging into the spring sunshine Craig Beeson, West Kent vice chair and festival organiser, presented Miles with a Gold Award certificate for Bonfire Boy, having been voted “Beer Of The Festival” by the public who chose from over 200 beers available. The three day festival is now one of the largest to be held in the south east and unique with its three locations as well as beers being available on the train, and will feature other favourites from Harvey’s this year. This award for the Lewes brewery is very appropriate for a town with a renowned reputation for its Bonfire Night celebrations!

Craig was joined by Ian Hodge, BLO for Harvey’s, who on behalf of CAMRA officially presented Miles with the Silver Award certificate for Harvey’s Old Ale in the Old Ales/Strong Milds category in the Champion Winter Beer of Britain competition at the GBBF Winterfest held in Norwich in February.

We would like to thank Miles for his hospitality and the time and effort he devoted to making the occasion so enjoyable and look forward to welcoming Harvey’s beers among the 200 to be available at the 2019 festival in Tunbridge Wells to be held over the three days 18th-20th October. Any volunteers able to help at the festival or in organising it would be most welcome.

The easiest ways to help CAMRA West Kent?

The number 1, easiest, but most important thing that CAMRA members can do to help any branch is to enter pub and beer scores via WhatPub. If you enter scores for pubs that you try they will get fed back to the relevant branch, and will be used for deciding which pubs go in the Good Beer Guide. The menu on the left contains a guide to Beer Scoring, or follow the WhatPub link above to go direct. 

Branch Volunteering
We really need more active, campaigning members on the branch committee to spread the workload . We’re all volunteers as you know, so if you want to be more involved let us know or come to our branch meetings and get involved. Also put your hand-up and volunteer to help at the events the branch organise, especially the Beer Festival at the Spa Valley Railway – always good fun and a great way to get involved.